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'In Paris, he was enjoying the baguettes or the red wine...'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Getty Images)

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Ireland forward Tadhg Beirne has outlined his delight at playing with Simon Zebo at Munster this season. Their paths hadn’t crossed before, Zebo moving to Racing before Beirne jumped at the chance to join Munster from Scarlets, but the respective 2013 and 2021 Lions tour picks are now part of Johann van Graan’s provincial squad this term as well as being Ireland colleagues as both were part of the Andy Farrell set-up for the Autumn Nations Series. 

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It has been a massive fillip for Munster having Zebo back at the club he left in 2018 to try his luck in France where he was denied Champions Cup glory in October 2020 when Racing were defeated by Exeter in the final at Ashton Gate.  

While Beirne was entitled to some downtime following his recent exploits on the pitch with Ireland, Zebo, who wasn’t capped, was instead part of the Munster squad that travelled to South Africa for their suddenly cancelled URC matches, the story that is the backdrop to next Sunday’s Champions Cup round one tie away to Wasps in England. 

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Munster’s CEO on their ill-fated South African adventure
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Munster’s CEO on their ill-fated South African adventure

Beirne has now spoken about Munster’s preparations for that match on the latest edition of The Rugby Pod and about his recent Ireland experiences. He also took time out to talk about Zebo at the behest of show co-host Andy Goode, who chucked the popular 31-year-old’s name into the conversation he was having with Beirne and fellow co-host Jim Hamilton. Here is what unfolded:  

GOODE: I follow him [Zebo] on social media. He is always doing his stuff with a smile on his face. How good is it to have him back?

BEIRNE: He is literally like that in person, I don’t think I have not seen him smiling. He is very happy to be out there doing his thing. He is class for our environment and we are enjoying having him back at Munster.

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HAMILTON: What kind of shape is he in, Tadhg. Looking at him in Paris just visually, I don’t know whether it was the white and blue stripes, he was enjoying the baguettes or the red wine. What kind of shape is he in?

BEIRNE: There is not too many baguettes to get in Ireland or pain au chocolat so he is in good shape. If he was in bad shape, I didn’t know him back then. He has sorted himself out if that was the case.   

HAMILTON: Yeah, he has sorted himself out just from what I can see aesthetically.

GOODE: Jim, you’re horrible.  

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Beirne wrapped up the interview by explaining the influence that assistant Munster coach Graham Rowntree has had in helping to develop his game as a forward at the club. “Huge. Especially personally, he has been really good for me. I have had a lot of one-on-ones with him after games reviewing and seeing where I can improve and what I need to focus on. He has been class around that area. I have really enjoyed him.”

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